2021 Code Review

Historical Background

The Code is the fundamental and universal document upon which the World Anti-Doping Program is based. Its purpose is to advance the anti-doping effort through universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements. It is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required, yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how agreed-upon anti-doping principles are implemented. The Code has been drafted giving consideration to the principles of proportionality and human rights.

In January 2003, the first Code was approved in Copenhagen, during the Second World Conference on Doping in Sport. At the time, WADA committed to ensuring that the Code would be a living document, subject to periodic review. In keeping with that commitment, in February 2006 and November 2011, WADA’s Foundation Board initiated Review Processes with amendments being incorporated within the 2009 and 2015 Codes respectively.

Today’s 2021 Code Review Process

On 16 November 2017, WADA’s Foundation Board initiated the 2021 Code Review Process, which will also involve simultaneous review of the International Standards. In short, the Process entails:

  • A two-year, three-phase, stakeholder consultation as summarized in the 2021 Code Review Process: Schedule below;
  • Circulation of multiple drafts of proposed Code amendments; 
  • A final draft Code being presented for consideration and approval at the fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, to be held in November 2019 in Katowice, Poland; and
  • The revised, 2021 Code, entering into effect on 1 January 2021. 

2021 Code Drafting Team

As in the past, the 2021 Code Review Process will be driven by a small Code Drafting Team comprised of senior WADA staff and external experts; namely:

  • Richard Young (Attorney, main drafter);
  • Ulrich Haas (Professor of Law);
  • Liz Riley (Attorney);
  • Ben Sandford (Attorney and Member of WADA Athlete Committee);
  • Tim Ricketts (WADA Director, Standards and Harmonization); 
  • Julien Sieveking (WADA Director, Legal Affairs); and
  • Sébastien Gillot (WADA Director, European Regional Office and International Federations Relations).

The Code Drafting Team’s goal is to solicit stakeholder feedback; and, incorporate the best feedback into successive working drafts of the 2021 Code. In the past, as a result of stakeholder consultation/dialogue, the Team has been successful in building consensus on the best stakeholder feedback. Where there is no consensus, WADA’s Executive Committee, acting as the steering body for the Team, decides which diverging stakeholder views should be incorporated within the successive drafts.

Limited Scope of Review

Before addressing the scope of the 2021 Code Review Process, we think that it is important to acknowledge that the current 2015 Code has been very well received by all Stakeholders and is highly regarded as being a fair and effective document to advance the anti-doping effort in sport. The rules that the current Code sets forth have consistently been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and other courts; and, there is broad support for most of its basic principles; for example: the concept of strict liability; the ability to prove doping through evidence without an adverse analytical finding; the four-year sanction for intentional doping; and, recognition that some mitigation of sanctions based on the degree of fault is appropriate.

There are however a few principles, which have been hotly debated twice since the first version of the Code, where consensus has not been reached; for example: whether the potential to enhance performance should be a mandatory criteria for placing a substance on the Prohibited List. Rather than attempt to revisit old ground, it is understandable that WADA’s Foundation Board has directed the Code Drafting Team to limit the scope of the review (as compared to the previous reviews) and focus primarily on new views and arguments, which will make the Code more effective. Of course, as in the past, the Team will carefully consider all stakeholder feedback.

In anticipation of the 2021 Code Review Process, WADA has been compiling a running list of stakeholder feedback related to the Code which has come about through a variety of means. For example, as part of its regulatory oversight responsibility, WADA reviews all legal decisions by Anti-Doping Organizations and CAS in application of the Code (approximately 2,500 / year); and therefore, has a good understanding of the Code provisions that are subject to misinterpretation or misapplication.  Also, WADA has taken due note of suggestions submitted by stakeholders and solicited Code amendment suggestions from its ad-hoc legal committee and other lawyers that are regularly involved in advising clients and arguing cases applying the Code. 

Based on all this, we would draw your attention to the document "2021 World Anti-Doping Code Review: Questions to Discuss and Consider", which summarizes questions that we currently consider should be addressed. It is intended to generate stakeholder feedback; yet, it is not intended as exhaustive nor to exclude other good views as to how the Code could be improved.

the process

On 12 December 2017, WADA launched the first phase of the 2021 Code Review Process, which closed on 31 March.

On 4 June 2018, WADA launched:

  • the first review phase of a number of International Standards.  Unless otherwise noted below and in the 2021 Code Review Process: Schedule, the Agency is soliciting stakeholder feedback by 14 September 2018. 

On 10 December 2018, WADA launched:

I. The third review phase of the 2021 Code Review Process

II. The second review phase of a number of International Standards

III. The first and only review phase of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights (Charter)

The whole review process culminates with approval at WADA’s next World Conference on Doping in Sport, which is to be held in Katowice, Poland in November 2019; after which, the revised 2021 Code and Standards will take effect on 1 January 2021.

I.  Code Review: Third Review Phase

On 10 December 2018, WADA launches the third review phase of the 2021 Code Review Process for which the Agency is soliciting stakeholder feedback by 4 March 2019.

The third review phase is of the second draft revised version of the Code that resulted from comments received from stakeholders during the second review phase. Accordingly, we attach:

II.  International Standards: Second Review Phase

On 10 December 2018, WADA launches the second review phase of a number of International Standards and the first review phase of the International Standard for Results Management (ISRM), for which the Agency is also soliciting stakeholder feedback by 4 March 2019. 

In order to facilitate the review process, every Standard is listed below along with, where applicable, a Clean version, a Redline version, a Summary of major proposed changes and Comments received from stakeholders, all of which stem from the first round of consultation.

1.  The International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE) is undergoing its first major review since 2015 – although there were minor updates in 2016 and 2018 – with the latter scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2019.

Following examination of stakeholder feedback, a revised version of the document was drafted and presented to WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) in September 2018.   

2.  The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which took effect on 1 April 2018.

3.  The International Standard for Education (ISE), which is a new Standard that WADA’s Foundation Board (Board) approved for development in November 2017. A first draft was published for public consultation in June 2018 after it was presented to WADA’s ExCo and Board in May 2018. Following consideration of the public comments and input received through the Global Education Conference held in October 2018, a second draft is now ready for stakeholder feedback.

4.  The International Standard for Results Management (ISRM), which is a new Standard. The first draft was presented to WADA’s ExCo and Board in November 2018 and is now being circulated for stakeholder consultation. This Standard will undergo a second consultation phase following the May 2019 ExCo and Board meetings.

5. The International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI), which is the new version adopted by WADA’s ExCo in May 2018 to ensure alignment with the main principles of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that came into force on 25 May 2018.

6.  The International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), which will undergo two full rounds of consultation. The ISTI was distributed for the first round of consultation with marked up text to two sections for reasons outlined below:

  • Due to issues faced with sample collection equipment earlier this year (2018), WADA appointed a small working group to enhance the criteria for equipment in the ISTI. Additional criteria have been included within Article 6.3.4 of a draft revised ISTI.
  • Over the past few years, WADA has received input from stakeholders, particularly Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) experts and Athlete Passport Management Units (APMUs), which proposed changes to Annex L of the ISTI.

Following the first round of consultation on the ISTI, and consideration of all comments from stakeholders regarding changes to the above two sections of the Standard, WADA’s ExCo approved all proposed changes at their meeting in November 2018; and, the revised ISTI will come into effect on 1 March 2019.

7.  The International Standard for Laboratories (ISL), which is a particular situation. It should be noted that a revised version (v.10.0) of the ISL was already circulated to WADA-accredited laboratories for comment from 2 March to 30 April 2018; and, a second version was circulated to all stakeholders from 14 July to 14 September 2018. This particular review of the ISL was triggered by some urgent changes that could not reasonably wait until 2021. However, the ISL v.10.0 was not approved by the WADA ExCo as presented at its meeting in November 2018. The ExCo requested that the ISL v.10.0 be subject to a further round of stakeholder consultation before it could be considered for approval in May 2019. If approved, it is foreseen that the ISL v.10.0 will come into force in late 2019. The ISL may then undergo further revision in 2020 to bring it in line with the 2021 Code.

8.  The International Standard for the Prohibited List is not part of the review process as it is reviewed annually via a separate stakeholder consultation.

As is the case for the Code Review, each Standard has dedicated drafting teams comprised of senior WADA staff and external experts that act as the review secretariat.

III. Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights: First and only Review Phase

On 10 December 2018, WADA launches the first, and only, review phase of the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights (Charter), for which WADA is also soliciting stakeholder feedback by 4 March 2019.

The goal of the Charter, which has been developed by WADA’s Athlete Committee, is to clearly outline athlete rights with respect to the fight against doping in sport. While athletes’ responsibilities towards clean sport are set out in the Code, the Charter aims to further support athletes worldwide in their right to compete in clean, ethical and fair sport.

The Charter is a standalone document. This latest draft includes a section containing 'actual' rights and a section containing 'aspirational' rights, with the 'actual rights' being referenced to the relevant sections of the Code or the International Standards. 

The idea of developing the Charter was first tested by WADA’s Athlete Committee at WADA’s Annual Symposium in March 2017. After being well received by Symposium participants, the Committee followed up by conducting a global athlete survey as to its desired content. Since then, the Charter has been presented for discussion and feedback at various WADA events in 2018; including, the 2018 Annual Symposium in March; the first Global Athlete Forum in June; the ExCo and Board meetings in November; and, the various meetings of the Code Drafting Team.

WADA particularly encourages athletes to comment on the draft Charter.

[Note: At this point, the Code, Standard and Charter documents are available in English only.]

To Submit Feedback 

As indicated above, we would ask you to propose recommendations no later than 4 March 2019 via WADAConnect, the Agency’s online consultation platform. Easy to use, WADAConnect will prompt you to create a user account and input your comments regarding aspects of the Code and/or Standards and/or Charter that are of particular interest to you. For more information related to WADAConnect, please refer to the simple user guide.

Stakeholders are asked, to the extent possible, to draw on practical experiences and propose recommendations that would benefit the fight for clean sport worldwide. In addition, stakeholders are asked to be as specific and clear as possible when making submissions, i.e. by proposing text to replace the existing text.

Please note that, in the interest of transparency, WADA will publish all comments on its website at the end of each phase of the consultation process; and that, unless otherwise notified, stakeholder credentials (i.e. username, organization and organization type) will be posted along with the comments.

We look forward to receiving your feedback. The high quality of stakeholder feedback that was collected during the 2009 and 2015 Code Review Processes was instrumental to ensuring that the Code be strengthened over time in protection of clean sport.

For more information

We look forward to receiving your feedback. If you have any questions about this process, please contact: code@wada-ama.org